There is no other resource more valuable or powerful than your employees. While technology can help improve and expand the capacity that your employees bring to the table, it can never replace the unique human factor of a person. One of the biggest challenges that companies face is helping their employees reach their fullest potential.
“The greatest potential you have to succeed is found in your employees.”
-Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You
There are a plethora of different business models and communication structures that various businesses have tried over the years. While no two businesses are the same, in any industry at the heart of all great companies are their employees. When you see successful businesses you see successful employees.
One of the major keys to helping unlock your employee’s potential will always be communication. Communication is one of the most important, and fundamental cornerstones of what creates good work culture, and in turn, creates successful businesses. But how do you find out what kind of communication works best with your staff?
Whether you are the CEO of an established brand, the founder of a start-up, or the lead in a department with a dedicated team, this is a hard question to answer. Every group of people will take an intentional approach to understand and help them reach their fullest potential as employees and team members.
“How do you bring people around and help them flourish in your environment? It’s not by being a dictator. It’s not by telling them what the hell to do. It’s making sure that they feel valued by being in the room with you. Listen. Pay attention. This is what great managers do.”
–Eric Schmidt, ex-CEO, Google
One of the best ways of communicating with your team is through meaningful, impactful meetings. Meetings allow team members to get together and work on core issues, and discuss not only problems but solutions. They are a great way of putting everyone at the table when new information is released which can cut back confusion and the spread of misinformation. However, meetings can struggle to be productive.
Finding ways to engage your team through meetings and not just wasting time is important. Learning the skills and tools that are necessary for avoiding mid-meeting slumps, and lack of interest is important to form good communication. Here are some of the best tips you can use to make sure your team gets the most out of meetings.
Does This Meeting Need to Happen?
Being critical over whether or not to call a meeting is the first step to understanding how to get the most out of them, and make them truly productive. If you find that your employees or team members are struggling to stay focused through meetings, a very real problem might be that there are too many of them.
“Valuing an Employee’s [Team member] time enforces a culture of quality and value they will bring to their work.”
-Daniel Tejada, Co-Founder of Straight Up Growth
Every meeting sends off messaging that goes further than the information given or discussed on the agenda. When you over saturate your staff with meetings that they may not find helpful, it can be difficult for them to give the proper attention. The first tip for creating productive meetings is to be critical of how many you are having, and their actual importance.
Everyone Has a Voice
“Build a culture that rewards—not punishes—people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”
–Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz
Meetings are an incredible time to build company culture. One of the best ways to instill value in your employees or team members is to affirm their ownership. Implementing strategies that help to further an employee’s confidence in their company, looks like opening a spot at the table.
Regularly bringing about opportunities where employees can feel like they have a place at the table, is empowering. This is best done through problem-solving. By allowing employees to speak about the problems that a company is facing, you are improving their sense of ownership and empowerment.
“Some of the most valuable investments your business can make are the ones that empower their employees to reach their fullest potential and bring their best to the table.”
-Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor at Personal Trainer Pioneer
How to Avoid Patronizing
One of the biggest ways that you can turn employees off during a meeting, is by making them feel belittled, patronized, or undervalued.
“The moment someone starts to question why they are in a meeting, it can be very hard for them to have anything productive to contribute.”
-Thomas Yuan, Head of Partnerships at SaneBox
One of the most practical ways you can avoid this is to be mindful of the length of meetings. If your employees are productive and have work to do, then dragging them into long meetings can not only stop productivity but damage morale. This comes back to ensuring the intentionality behind your meetings and presentations. When meetings last too long, it can send a message that your employee or teammates’ team isn’t valued. Short, direct, and clear communication that leaves ample room for discussion and participation is a great way to keep team members engaged.
At the heart of success will always be the people that pushed an idea, a business, or a dream forward. This takes time and it takes a fair amount of trial and error. One of the most important things to remember when dealing with people is the need to be flexible. If a certain strategy doesn’t seem to work, don’t be afraid to throw it away and try something new.
Value and ownership are challenging things to instill in your workforce, and every company is made up of unique individuals which leads to a unique culture. Finding out what works best for your business, and your team, whether you are an established brand or a brand new startup will take time.
Critically thinking through the meetings, to ensure that the ones that happen are necessary, and opening up the table so that everyone can feel like they are a part of the solution is key. It may take some trial and error, but finding ways to avoid mid-meeting slumps, and empower employee confidence will take your business a long way.